Last summer, Peter wrote a blog post titled “Bring back the ease of ’80s and ’90s personal computing
,” which effectively argued for a more philosophical approach to building an operating system interface. He expressed frustration with the wide array of possible configurations that can happen in modern operating systems.
“Too many things to be configured, and everything that can be configured can go wrong,” he wrote. “Back in time when things were easy, everything could be done by drag-and-drop in the file manager, without other tools. Contrast this with today: Too many things cannot be achieved by the file manager anymore.”
This approach is a driving factor behind hello, which is still only a few months old, but has been driven in large part by philosophical discussions
just as much as pushing around code.
This is no hobby operating system, either, at least not in the sense that Peter seems to be building it for himself. Speaking to The Register
, he emphasized that the goal is to make a simplistic operating system that regular users will feel comfortable with.
“There is no set date for 1.0,” he said. “The objective for 1.0 is roughly that you can put it on a casual user’s 10-year-old Mac and have them use it for basic tasks without being all too confused.”
I have gained great appreciation for Linux’s sheer flexibility, but one thing that has really been missing from many open-source implementations is something that makes thoughtful decisions for the end user, discouraging heavy customization because it just works. (There are examples, to be fair: Chrome OS
probably fits the bill, though it’s likely not open enough; Elementary OS
gets partway there.)
It will be interesting to give hello a serious try, as well as to watch its noble goals play out. Personally, I can’t wait.
Time limit given ⏲: 30 minutes
Time left on clock ⏲: *timer goes off*
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